The Horse Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious to hear your thoughts on them.

Primarily I'm referring to keeping geldings and mares together.

I'm going to be honest, up until I found this forum the thought of keeping mares and geldings separate never occurred to me.

My mom ran a barn for the better part of 15 years with a herd of five geldings and three mares and she put them all out together all the time and we never had any issues. One of the mares was a Shetland and one was a filly. That filly, aside from her first week of life, ran with Momma and all the others for her entire time on our property.

For the past two years we had a gelding and mare out together, again, no problems, and the last six months we had one mare out with two geldings, no problems.

I understand separating horses on a horse by horse basis - i.e. temperament, illness, one being excessively aggressive, etc., but I never thought to separate them purely on the basis of gender alone.

I'm curious to hear the reasoning that those who do separate on the basis of gender have for doing so.

I'm not saying one method is better than the other - merely that I, having had no problems with them being together, don't understand why one would choose to separate them.

Hopefully this can spark a [pleasant] dialog between the two methods of herding (inter-gender/by gender). What benefits does having all mares and all geldings have that having them grouped together would otherwise not?

Or is it simply personal preference?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,863 Posts
I like them all together. But in large agistment herds they seem to do well apart.

I don't know how to describe the benefits, but my previous gelding was less aggressive and possessive when kept only with geldings. He wasn't bad but it was a noticeable difference. The mares seemed a little better in season I guess, but again, the mare I had then when they were split wasn't bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
339 Posts
I have always kept them all together. When Dani was at the trainer's, mares and geldings were separated. That makes perfect sense because there were always horses coming and going and it caused less fuss among the horses. I've noticed that geldings rarely react to the addition of a new gelding but a new mare stirs things up. Mares react to any addition to the herd. I used to have a friend who ran a riding stable and would use only geldings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,512 Posts
I own a gelding and my lease horse is a mare. They're on 24/7 pasture, and turn out well together. The gelding does much better when kept with mares, when he's kept with other geldings he's more agressive and dominant. I guess with all things horse related, it depends on the individual horses in the situation.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
I normally keep the sexes separated unless an individual horse needs a mixed herd. In the wild boys run with boys an it's girls and a dominant stallion, so it is actually more natural keeping the sexes separated.

Now with that being said, my OTSTB hates male horses an barely tolerates females so he is best by himself with others in view but not fighting close.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,305 Posts
I have mixed herds. The mini's are a herd of 2 mares, 1 gelding. Another herd is 2 mares, 1 gelding because he used to be my breeding stallion and doesn't get on well with the other geldings. The other herd is 5 geldings, 1 mare. She's with the geldings because those are the horses she's been with since she was weaned and since we kept 2 foals out of that years crop of babies she's been with one of those geldings since birth. I've had no problems with them being in mixed herds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
I prefer to keep everyone together but some horses just do better without one gender. My mom's gelding is an example of this. If he has a mare in the field (only a horse, he doesn't care about our mare ponies) then he is a complete jerk. He is naturally dominant but having that mare around makes him 10 times worse. It isn't just a certain horse but any mare you put in with him.

My gelding, who is very submissive and just moved up in the pecking order over the 9hh pony, takes the brunt of his aggression if there is a mare but without a mare they are buddies. Without a large mare(horse, not pony) our herd is soo much more peaceful and easier to keep together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
The barn I was at in highschool kept them seperated but barn Im at now does not. We have one heard with 3 mares and 3 geldings. The geldings hang back and mares are the bosses but are easy to handle for separating to eat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,167 Posts
I have 1 gelding who was intact until he was 7 y.o. and he runs the mare band. He's out with 6 mares and is still very much the male in charge. I have another gelding who runs with my stallion. They've been together since Bo was weaned, so they get along great. Once I have a pregnant mare, I add her to their paddock if she likes running with them. Boo loves being with Skippy & Bo and prefers to be there rather than with the other mares & Cloney. Skippy is SO good natured that he's my weanling babysitter when I pull a colt off his dam. I geld early, as early as I can, so a colt is usually gelded before he's weaned. Everything seems to run very smoothly that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,950 Posts
Ana is in a mixed herd and she's doing fine. The herd even includes a donkey. I did notice though that within the big herd little micro herds exist. So Ana always hangs out with a TB mare and her TB gelding friend. The poor donkey gets picked on a lot by the more dominant horses.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
I'd say my situation is a little of both scenarios and it works. I recently moved my horses to my grandmas. There was nothing there set up for them. With lots of help from friends & family we were was able to put up a small pen for the minis and three separate pens as well as a pasture. So far its been working out pretty well. I have a multi gender herd of 5. I have 3 geldings (2 AQHA, 1 APHA) and 2 mini mares.

They are kept in there own separate dry lots except the mares, they are together. They are turned out into a large pasture supervised together 2-3 times a week and they all get along together really well. Everyone knows there place in the pecking order. They love to tear around together and kick up there heels. Then at the end of the day everyone goes back to there own space. I prefer it that way. This way I know who eats & drinks what ect. It works really well for me :)

I suppose it may be different with both full sized mares & geldings though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,320 Posts
I keep a mixed herd. I've got two mares, one is turned out with 4 geldings, one of whom is her son. The other is still technically a filly as she's not quite 2, but she has begun to cycle. She's with 3 geldings. I don't have trouble with herd sourness because I take the time to train everyone to happily go off on their own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,800 Posts
We have 3 mares and 2 geldings at home. One gelding and my paint mare are "attracted" to eachother. It's super annoying. The gelding is up her butt all the time and won't let my other mare near her. The mare gets annoyed with him too and squeals and kicks out at home.

My trainer keeps mares and geldings separated. It keeps the peace and they aren't driven nuts by hormones so they seem to behave better and aren't as clingy.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
573 Posts
Almost every barn I've been to has kept mixed herds. I have never seen a problem with it. My current barn is mixed, but there are a couple extra study geldings that we separate from the main herd.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,824 Posts
some geldings i can put with the mares, some will get possessive , some try to mount the mares and other geldings in a show of dominance, some get so heard bound to the mares its
unreal . one gelding is just flat out mean to the mares, will chase them off the ' herd'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,635 Posts
Gavyn is in a mixed herd. It is very uncommon here to separate the horses by gender. I honestly didn't even know people did that until I started coming on here lol!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,290 Posts
Where im at there are two geldings that go out with four mares. One is in his late 30s early 40s and has massive hick issues so he only moves as much as he needs to. he is also top of the pecking order lol. The other gelding is a 17 year old ottb with a healing leg injury but he is sound. He is a sweety and a push over so im not to worried about him. The two geldings have been turned out with my lil arab (low man on the totem pole), the older geldings friend a 40 year old mare, and a young qh mare (with an attitude issue that the older gelding took care of). There is a tb mare who can only be turned out with the ottb gelding because she is a brat (one day when after my mare looking for blood, luckily bf was there and chased her away. my little mare ran right up behind him and hid). But neither gelding are a problem. They tend to be the peacemakers among the mares anyway.

Would I keep geldings with breeding mares? No, some geldings will go after newborns and normally sweet geldings can turn onto mean monsters. I was on a ranch were they kept the mares with the stud until foaling time. They were not aloud out with the mixed herd until the foal was almost a month old (they might have gotten turned out in a smaller pasture with other mare's with their foals until the foals where old enough).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,290 Posts
On the flip side I almost bought a "mare killer" gelding. He was a QH friesian and he was a calm horse. I was walking him through the barn past a mares stall. He was calm, almost half asleep. The MOMENT we were level with the mare he snapped without warning. He did not look at her, pin his ears, nothing. One second he was walking the next he had reared over the stall door and had this mare by the pole He was shaking her like a dog toy and trying to kill her. I managed to pull him off and he acted like nothing happened. He went back to being half asleep! It was like someone flipped a switch! Horses normally give some sort of warning but not this one. Turns out he tries to kill any more, hence why he is only turned out with a gelding. Yep did NOT buy that horse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,786 Posts
My current herd is 3 mares and 1 gelding. The gelding is #3 in the pecking order. My former herd (all have passed on now because of old age) was the reverse - 3 geldings and 1 mare. There was a short time when I was down to 1 old gelding (from the former herd) so borrowed a neighbour's gelding to be his pasture companion while I worked at getting new horses. This was fine until the first new horse happened to be a mare and the loaner turned from mellow to aggressive pretty much instantly and attacked my old guy to get, what I can only assume, was possession of the new mare - he went back to his real home in short order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,913 Posts
There's a huge difference between having your own horses at home in a mixed herd and running a boarding operation where people have entrusted you with the care of their horses. It doesn't matter how the herd dynamics work with your horses at home, but boarders expect that they should be able to walk out into the pasture and their horse is in the same shape as when they left yesterday. They expect their mares to not be mounted and have their backs torn up by front shoes. They expect that their lowly gelding will not be run through the fence by the dominant gelding who is protecting "his" mares. Same goes for the mare that gets run off by the gelding that wants her buddy but not her. The mare owners should not be subjected to this same dominant gelding getting between the mare and her owner as they try to leave the pasture. Bottom line is safety. My herds are more settled, they don't squabble as much, they aren't as buddy sour, the geldings get bit up but that's them playing not fighting, the mares aren't in flaming heat, no one is getting chased or beat up, never needed a horse stitched up because of another horse.... I don't spend any time experimenting to see who can be turned out with who. Sounds like a winner to me.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top